By Andrew Ross Sorkin
DAVOS, Switzerland — As business and political leaders arrive in the Swiss Alps for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, a surprisingly alarming letter from an influential investor who studiously eschews attention has already emerged as a talking point.
The letter, written by Seth A. Klarman, a billionaire investor known for his sober and meticulous analysis of the investing world, is a huge red flag about global social tensions, rising debt levels and receding American leadership.
Mr. Klarman, a 61-year-old value investor, runs Baupost Group, which manages about $27 billion. He doesn’t make the annual pilgrimage to Davos, but his words are often invoked by policymakers and executives who do. His dire letter, which is considerably bleaker than his previous writings, is a warning shot that a growing sense of political and social divide around the globe may end in an economic calamity.
“It can’t be business as usual amid constant protests, riots, shutdowns and escalating social tensions,” he wrote.